Over the past couple of week’s I’ve been contacted by three business owners frustrated with the lack of leads generated by their current Google Ads agency. I offered to take a look at their accounts and provide insights as to why they weren’t performing. Here’s what I found.
In all cases, business owners were sold a pitch that this agency would ‘get more traffic’ to their websites. The agency did exactly that, and so they delivered on their promise. But they didn’t deliver on their clients expectations; because what these business owners really wanted was more leads and revenue.
More traffic does not automatically equate to more leads
- It has to be relevant traffic.
- It has to be high quality traffic.
Get More Traffic or Get More Leads?
Anyone can drastically increase traffic to a website, often for just $10 or $15 a day. In most cases when auditing accounts like these, I see huge volumes of Display Ad traffic with very few restrictions placed on audience or placement (website) targeting. Display Ads show to anyone browsing websites that are part of the Google Display Network. These websites receive revenue from Google whenever someone clicks on their ads. So, if someone clicks on your ad, you pay Google for that click and Google pays the website owner a proportion of that click.
Display Ad campaigns need to be tightly controlled to minimise fraudulent traffic (repetitive clicks from the same IP address), bot or invalid traffic (duplicate GCLID, fake clicks from blocked IPs, attempts at data-spoofing). There’s a lot more to this then I can cover in this blog, but the upshot is this – for traffic to bring you more leads and sales, it must be relevant. For it to be relevant, campaigns need to be managed well.
Low Intent Display Traffic or High Intent Search?
Another theme with these accounts is that very little advertising budget is spent on Search Campaigns, which bid on search terms customers use to find you. For example, if you are a furniture store, search terms people could key in to find you could be “furniture + your location”, “quality furniture online”, “buy furniture online”, “local furniture store” and so on.
Search advertising costs more than display, but the audience generally has a much higher intent. These are people actively searching for your goods or services now. To get their business, it’s vital your ads show to them. So although they cost more per click, the traffic is more relevant.
An account focused on leads and sales will generate fewer clicks (less traffic) but better quality traffic when done right. Would you rather have 100 visitors to your website with a 30% conversion rate, or 1,000 visitors to your website with a .05% conversion rate? Both may cost you the same, but will generate very different outcomes for your business. Agencies focused on getting you more traffic will go for the 1000 lower quality clicks; afterall, that’s what they’ve promised you!
Poor Traffic Costs Money – A Lot Of Money
In all the cases I audited over the past couple of weeks, the extra traffic business owners were paying for was costing them dearly. Here’s a breakdown of what I found.
- Business Owner 1. Since April he has spent $1,500 on Google advertising + management and set up fees of $1,200 to receive only $400 in revenue, ouch!
- Business Owner 2. Had been running Google Ads for years and yet the vast majority of leads were coming through under their brand name. These were people who already knew about them, and would have found them organically anyway. The number of new customer acquisitions was very, very low.
- Business Owner 3. Spent $3,000 on Google Ads since February, and generated $4,500 in sales but when you add on management fees and take into account the profit margins on the goods they were selling, they were going backwards.
Ask to see a breakdown of leads via keywords
Often reports these clients receive from their agency focus on traffic, and how many new website visitors they have generated for them – woopty doo.
What they should be showing you is the number of leads, sales and sales value (for retail campaigns). You should have clear visibility as to what search terms are converting, so you can see it’s not just your brand name!
It’s about continuous improvement – not set and forget
Over the years Google has introduced many optimisation tools to help us get more of the traffic we want (converting traffic), and less of the traffic we don’t (wasted clicks).
When auditing these accounts, I’ve noticed that many of these tools are not being used. Be it due to a lack of skill or will on the part of the agency is neither here nor there, the point is the poor unsuspecting business owner was none-the-wiser.
To ensure your advertising budget is managed well, it’s vital to partner with a Google Ads agency focused on lead generation, and not just traffic. It’s easy to drive more traffic to a website, but it takes real skill, strategy and experience to bring more relevant traffic.
You also need to choose someone who’s prepared to spend the time working in your account. Often when auditing accounts I find very little that’s been done besides the odd bid adjustment or negative keyword added.
How do you know if your agency is doing anything in your account? Check out ‘Change History’ in the left toolbar.
Start with a clear strategy and a plan of action
When I ask business owners what strategy or plan was put in place prior to setting up their account, they often say ‘I don’t know’.
Here’s the thing – pretty much anyone can set up a Google Ads account these days – that’s the easy part. But setting up an account without a clear strategy is just asking for trouble. Like the old adage goes – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail… and you will waste a lot of money in the process!
Your agency should create a digital marketing plan for your business, in consultation with you. This plan should be revisited and revised according to the needs of your business, be that monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annually.
And there you have it, just a few insights into Google Ads accounts I’ve audited in past couple of weeks that were focused on traffic, and not lead generation.
So, what do you say to a person that calls you out of the blue and promises to get you more traffic? You say, ‘no thanks, it’s the leads I’m after!’
To find out more about how digitalstream can help your business grow the smart and affordable way, get in touch today. You can also request a free Google Ads Audit and Digital Marketing Consultation.